What is Equality Means Business (EMB)?

In today's modern economy, business owners know the vital importance of their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees and customers. Unfortunately, Alabama and its municipalities lag far behind when it comes to legal protections for LGBT people against discrimination. In Sweet Home Alabama, it's perfectly legal for someone to be fired, denied housing, or refused service simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a business owner, you can take a stand against discrimination. By taking Equality Shoals' Equality Means Business pledge, you'll affirm your commitment to open and inclusive place of business in the Shoals.

When you join EMB, you make a promise to your community that your business is a safe and welcoming place for LGBT people to work and shop.

Why join?

  • BECAUSE PATRONS CARE: Nearly half of Americans and 64% of those who identify as LGBT allies say they are more likely to spend money with brands that are LGBT inclusive, according to a new survey from Ogilvy. (Fortune, 2017)

  • BECAUSE IT MATTERS TO YOUR EMPLOYEES: Being out at work and welcomed by your boss and co-workers is good for employee morale. LGBT-supportive policies and workplace climates are linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health outcomes among LGBT employees. (Out & Equal, 2017)

    • LGBT-supportive policies and workplace climates are also linked to less discrimination against LGBT employees and more openness about being LGBT. Less discrimination and more openness, in turn, are also linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, improved health outcomes, and increased productivity among LGBT employees.

    • According to one study, LGBT people in the closet at work are 73 percent more likely to say they’ll leave their companies within the next three years.
  • BECAUSE THE LGBT COMMUNITY HAS HIGH DISCRETIONARY INCOME: In the United States, the LGBT population’s combined disposable personal income in 2015 was an estimated $917 billion. (Witeck Communications, 2016)

  • BECAUSE CORPORATE AMERICA IS LEADING THE WAY: Today, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies welcome lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees with inclusive policies (that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation). 82 percent of Fortune 500 companies include gender identity in nondiscrimination policies. (Out & Equal, 2017)

  • BECAUSE YOU'LL HAVE A COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT: Equality Shoals' Equality Means Business Online Directory is a consumer tool that helps LGBT people and their allies make informed decisions about the LGBT-supportive businesses they choose to support. You'll receive promotional materials to display in your place of business acknowledging your commitment to LGBT inclusion and equality as a member of Equality Means Business.

How do I join EMB?

Follow the steps below and join the growing list of businesses that are welcoming places to work and patron.

  1. Print out the EMB membership form,which includes a pledge guaranteeing that your LGBT customers and clients will not be denied service, nor will your employees be denied or restricted employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  2. Send the completed form to us:
    Email: info@equalityshoals.org
    Mail: P.O. Box 674, Florence, AL 35631

OR DO IT ONLINE:

  1. Fill out and submit the online membership form below.

How do I get free promotional material?

After you become a member, your business will be listed in the Equality Means Business online directory. Plus, we will mail you an Equality Means Business certificate, sticker, and window cling so that you can let everyone know that your business is a welcoming place to work and to shop. Send us a photo with your EMB material and we’ll add you to our Facebook photo album.

Questions?

Still have questions? View our frequently asked questions page here or contact Equality Shoals at info@equalityshoals.org for more information about Equality Means Business.

EQUALITY MEANS BUSINESS PLEDGE FOR BUSINESSES

Authorized Representative Name *
Authorized Representative Name
Address *
Address
Phone *
Phone
http://
Date of Agreement *
Date of Agreement
Our Pledge: My business is open to all potential customers and clients and will not turn away service to anyone based upon their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. My business will never deny or restrict employment to anyone based upon their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. *

EQUALITY MEANS BUSINESS PLEDGE FOR INDIVIDUALS

Name *
Name
Address *
Address
Phone *
Phone
Date of Agreement *
Date of Agreement
Our Pledge: I believe that in order for the Shoals to compete on the state, national, and world stage, it must support diversity and inclusion. I support LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies in employment, housing, and public accommodations, including passage on a fully-inclusive LGBTQ non-discrimination municipal ordinance. *